Emerging Infectious Diseases

Emerging infectious diseases are diseases that were once nonexistent or controlled that our now increasing in prevalence due to global interaction. These diseases are traveling around the world and spreading quickly not just from humans traveling but also in food, or animals/insects stowing away in shipping containers. An example of an emerging infection is SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

SARS first appeared in China in November of 2002, within just a few months it spread globally. Very similarly to what we are currently experiencing with COVID 19. SARS will initially begin with flu like symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath (Mayo Clinic, 2019). Due to its similarity to the flu it can go undetected in most people while they unknowingly spread it around. SARS is actually caused by a strain of Coronavirus. Previously the virus only affected animals but as the virus strains mutated it has become deadly to humans.

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It is spread through droplets that enter the air surrounding an infected person who recently sneezed or coughed and can infect those around them who breathe in or touch the droplets and ingest them. It is more likely to spread when in close contact with an infected person but can also be spread by touching contaminated objects such as a doorknob (Mayo Clinic, 2019).

Researchers are currently working on a vaccine for SARS, but none have been developed yet. Vaccines take years to develop and even then, have to be deemed safe for clinical use which can take years. Safety guidelines have been suggested in order to apprehend the spread of SARS if it reappears. It is recommended to wash hands with soap and water, sanitize with at least a 60% alcohol-based sanitizer when hand washing is not possible, wear disposable gloves, a mask, and disinfect surfaces (Mayo Clinic, 2019).

I personally do not think SARS will ever be eradicated. Since it is a strain of Coronavirus that has mutated and once only effected animals but is now deadly to humans, then there is an unlimited amount of possibilities for new and worsening strains to develop. Vaccines can be created but by the time they are developed, thousands of new strains can exist that are resistant. Due to the times we live in the word is only going to become more interdependent and I think we will continue to see a rise in global pandemics.

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